The Offa’s Dyke Path is another of Britain’s beautiful National Trails. It was officially opened back in 1971 and it runs from Sedbury Cliffs near the town of Chepstow to the western coastal community of Prestatyn, which sits next to the Irish Sea. The odd name can be traced back to King Offa, who ordered a dyke to be built in the 8th century to separate his kingdom from others.
The trail is 177miles in length and it takes travelers through eight separate counties and also crosses the England/Wales border more than 20 times. The path passes through the border region known as the Marches as well as Brecon Beacons National Park. There are also three different Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the trail, which are the Shropshire Hills, Clwydian Hills, and the Wye Valley.
Some people take up to two weeks to complete the entire trail, but you can hike the different sections of it during day trips. There are plenty of places to sleep and eat along the path, including campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, and hotels. You’ll also be able to take public transportation to most of the key communities along the way.
Offa’s Dyke Path enables hikers to visit many fascinating historical sites while making the journey. These include: St Asaph Cathedral, Denbigh Castle, Rhuddlan Castle, Penycloddiau Hill Fort, Jubilee Tower, Llangwyfan Forest, the Pillar of Eliseg, Llanarmon yn Ial, the Llangollen Railway, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the Montgomery Canal, Chirk Castle, Powysland Museum, Welshpool and Llanfair Railway, Leighton Hall, Montgomery Castle, the Old Bell Museum, Clun Castle, Powis Castle , Offa’s Dyke Centre, Knighton Town, the Spaceguard Centre, Burfa Hill Fort, Hergest Croft Gardens, Kington Museum, Longtown Castle, Beacon Ring Hill Fort, Llanthony Abbey, Grosmont Castle, Monnow Bridge, White Castle, Skenfrith Castle, Kymin Naval Temple, Tintern Abbey, Monmouth Castle, and Chepstow Castle.
The sheer number of sites to visit would keep you busy for months on end and this is why many people make return trips to the national trail. Also, since it’s such a long hike, you’ll pass through a wide range of different landscapes. Most of the trail is quite easy to navigate and walk, but things get a little bit tougher when you reach the Shropshire Hills, especially between the picturesque communities of Knighton and Brompton Crossroads. They also get a bit more strenuous in the upland sections of Brecon Beacons as well as the Clwydian Range.
The easiest section of the trail is from Buttington Bridge to Llanymynech as it’s quite flat here. This section travels alongside the Montgomeryshire Canal and the River Severn. The remainder of the hike is filled with some gentle rolling hills that don’t require too much energy.
If you decide to spend a few days along the trail you shouldn’t have much of a problem finding accommodations for the night. There are also plenty of options when it comes to dining. One of the most popular ways to travel the journey is to camp out overnight while cooking your dinner over an open fire.
Offa’s Dyke Path takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Britain and the opportunities to learn about the nation’s history along the way make the hike even more fascinating.